Swedish First Hill Hospital Sees Picket Of Several Hundred SEIU Members and Supporters

Nearly 1000 workers and supporters of SEIU gathered at the Swedish Hospital on First Hill in Seattle to picket understaffed hospitals and worsening healthcare. According to Swedish First Hill workers, three months of negotiations have brought them less than favorable health insurance, with high deductibles and high costs of office visits, leaving some in debt to the same institutions where they provide health care to the public.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray spoke to the crowd, promising his support, “I want to join you in calling for a swift, fair resolution to this labor dispute, and any new contract…must demonstrate the same level of care to your employees as you show your patients…a new contract must ensure that those who work in a hospital have access to affordable health care.”

Joining Mayor Murray were Seattle City Council Members Kshama Sawant, Mike O’Brien, Bruce Harell, Jean Godden, and King County Council Members Larry Gossett and Rod Debowski who all spoke in support of the nurses, healthcare workers, and hospital staff who joined the picket for a continuation of the same quality insurance they had before Providence took over Swedish Hospitals.

Earlier in the day, demonstrators protested understaffed shifts and poor health insurance around the region before joining together for a major picket against Providence/Swedish on First Hill. Protestors lined both sides of Broadway and received countless honks and waves in support of the picket. Pat O’Brien is a Post Partum Charge Nurse and has worked at Swedish First Hill for 36 years, “We have some things on the table that talk about safe staffing, a decent living wage, and better insurance…”. After twelve sessions (or three months) of sitting at the bargaining table, the negotiators have refused to listen to the proposals set forward by SEIU Healthcare workers.

From the Facebook event page…

Swedish-Providence made $110 million in profit in 2014 and Providence paid its CEO $1.9 million in 2013. It can afford good care and good jobs but would rather make its CEO rich and bank a huge profit.

Nurses and healthcare workers are speaking out because we need more staffing to give our patients the care they need. Caregivers, some of whom are in collections to Swedish-Providence for care we received in the hospital where we work, need relief from our high healthcare costs. And we need an investment in our work that allows us to support our families rather than fall behind.

We’ll picket at Edmonds, Ballard, Issaquah, First Hill, Cherry Hill, Redmond, Mill Creek from 12 noon – 2pm on July 1 and then end the day with a big rally and picket at First Hill from 4-6:30pm.

We are standing up for good care, good jobs, and access for all at Swedish-Providence. Join us!

www.careforseattle.com” – Rally & Picket for Good Care and Good Jobs at Swedish-Providence

2015 Seattle Pride Parade

Top 100 Photos!

Trans Pride Seattle 2015

June 26th, 2015 Trans Pride Seattle kicks off Pride weekend in Seattle with a march to support those in the Transgender community as they continue their struggle for justice and dignity. Hundreds gathered at Seattle Central before marching and were joined by a lone Bible beater with a sign. Although he was asked to leave by both organizers and police, he did not, and according to organizers the police took no further action, although the organizers had a permit and felt harassed. The bigot was mostly ignored as those at the rally were far to busy having a good time and celebrating to pay attention to him. The Christian fundamentalist eventually found himself “glitterbombed”. Marchers took a route through Capitol Hill down Broadway to Pike, up Pike to 11th, and into Cal Anderson Park, where they were joined by hundreds of others. Booths from organizations like the Ingersoll Gender Center, Gender Justice League, Gay City Health and API Chaya were set up to provide information and get people involved in the community. Mayor Ed Murray spoke briefly and declared June 26th, 2015 to be Transgender Pride Day in Seattle.

From transprideseattle.org ” Trans* Pride Seattle: Trans* Pride Seattle is an annual event organized by Gender Justice League in association with local organizations who support the Seattle-area trans* and gender non-conforming community. Supporting organizations for Trans* Pride Seattle from past years include (but are not limited to) the GBSA, Café Vita, The Pride Foundation, Gay City Health Project, and Social Justice Fund Northwest. Trans* Pride Seattle is open to everyone who believes trans* and gender non-conforming people deserve to live lives free from violence, discrimination, stigmatization, poverty, hatred, rejection, medical abuse and neglect, and mental pathologization. We encourage the participation of groups, organizations, and individuals in the trans* and gender non-conforming community and those offering services directly to our community. The Mission The goal of Trans* Pride Seattle is to increase the strength of the trans* and gender non-conforming community and its allies, both within and beyond Seattle, through increased visibility, decreased isolation, increased connection and love, and the celebration of our amazing lives. Together as a community we do more than survive, we thrive; creating collective endeavors that support our needs as parents, children, friends, lovers, students and workers; building space within the various communities to which we belong to participate fully, as our entire selves; and fighting for freedom, rights and respect in society. Trans* Pride Seattle is a vital step in this journey. Trans* Pride Seattle seeks to show our numbers, share our ideas, and call for an end to the violence, discrimination, stigmatization, poverty, hatred, rejection, medical abuse and neglect, and mental health pathologization that trans* and gender non-conforming people face. We aim to increase the visibility and acceptance of Seattle’s vibrant trans* and gender non-conforming communities by recruiting allies and engaging the wider community on trans* issues while celebrating our rich diversity, strength, and beauty. The Date Trans* Pride Seattle takes place on the Friday before Seattle’s Pride Festivities (the last weekend in June).  Trans* Pride Seattle 2015 will take place on June 26th. The March starts at 6:00pm (assembly beginning at 5pm), with festivities in Cal Anderson running from 6:45pm to 10:00pm. The March Trans* Pride Seattle starts with a march. We assemble at the courtyard north of Seattle Central Community College for the march at 5:00pm. At 6:00pm we begin to march down Broadway towards Pike Street where we turn left, march east on Pike Street and then left onto 11th. The March will end with a rally and celebration in Cal Anderson Park. The Rally Trans* Pride Seattle is proud to curate a diverse and powerful group of speakers and performers from around the United States. A few speakers from select local organizations will also be taking the stage to discuss their work and the services and opportunities they offer.  In addition, there will be an information and resource fair with a wide variety of community groups and organizations doing outreach. There’ll also be food trucks and our beloved community out in full force! And You The Trans* Pride Seattle events in 2013 and 2014 were both a smashing success, with participation by thousands of community members and allies. We received the support and involvement of a wide range of community organization as well as coverage by local, national and international media. Let’s continue the tradition and make 2015’s Trans* Pride Seattle an unforgettable gathering, celebration and rallying cry heard around the world. Please help us out by donating and joining us in volunteering .”

Kayaktivists visit Chambers Bay to protest climate change during dry and dusty U.S. Open

Activists in kayaks, canoes, pontoons and sailboats, visited Chambers Bay during the U.S. Open with signs protesting climate change and oil trains as Professional Golf Association pro’s trod the dead grass of the brown fairways. Boats from the water could easily see the effects of warmer days and drought conditions in Western Washington as the brown of the golf course stood out against the evergreens and blue sky. One catamaran hoisted a massive banner that read “No Oil Trains” as Burlington Northern Santa Fe locomotives pulled trains of boxcars and oil tankers between the course and the water. Activists mentioned that during the train watch, up to four entire trains of Bakken Crude tankers went by the course daily, yet during the tournament, none did.

As Mt. Rainier provided the dramatic scenery, two sailboats raised a banner between them that read “Save Our Climate”. The boats rotated between showing their banners to the land and to those watching the events from the water, well behind the Coast Guards 1000 yard “security” zone. Armed Coast Guard vessels along with a Pierce County Sheriff boat, one from Mercer Island Police, and also from the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Patrol, patrolled the “security” line, warning kayaks, spectator powerboats, and sailboats as they drifted with the current, that they had crossed the line.

The Seattle Raging Grannies sang from the powerboat as activists from Olympia, Tacoma, and as far as Salem, Oregon joined them from the water. One paddler from Puyallup, Chris Canfield, says “You guys are out here saying hey, this what we believe in, this is our message. It’s a good message.” After four hours of paddling some activists were feeling the effects of the sun and strong current. Activists began to turn back and some were towed as the tide began to change and the wind began to slacken. No arrests were made and all activists returned safely.

From the event website…

“Enjoy Father’s day and the first day of summer, on the water, while making a powerful statement to protect our environment and our future.

Join the People’s Climate Action Fleet, Sunday- June 21, 2015 off the coast of the Chambers Bay Golf Course in Pierce County. Bring all your watercraft – kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and power boats. The Chambers Bay Golf Course hosts the 2015 U.S. Open Golf Tournament June 15th-21st.   More than two hundred thousand people will attend the tournament and one hundred million more will watch the action on television.

This is our chance to bring a dramatic climate justice message to the attention of a national and international audience

Chambers Bay is a new world-class golf course immediately north of Steilacoom. The train tracks run between the golf course and Puget Sound.

100-car oil trains already use the tracks several times a day to transport oil to refineries in Tacoma, Anacortes, and Cherry Point. The streets around Chambers Bay will closed to the public during the tournament, but boats and kayaks on the Sound will be visible to all the cameras and spectators. One of the chief attractions of the golf course is the spectacular view of the Salish Sea, Fox Island, McNeil Island and the Olympics.  We hope to steer our fleet, with signs, kites and balloons carrying our message, into the middle of that view. We envision a colorful demonstration, much like Rising Tide’s waterborne demonstration on the Columbia two years ago.

Coal, Oil, Gas

None Shall Pass

This is our chance to demonstrate to millions of people around the nation and around the world that the people of the Northwest understand that climate change is the greatest challenge that humans have ever faced; that we will not allow big coal, gas and oil companies to turn our coast into a hub for the export of fossil fuels; that we are determined to stop the oil train bombs that threaten all the communities through which they pass; that we demand a rapid transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy; that we will continue to raise our voices and put our bodies on the line in marches, rallies and demonstrations in order to preserve a livable future for our grand- children and for all generations to come. This time we go down to the sea in boats – the Salish Sea, Puget Sound. We hope the People’s Climate Action Fleet will carry our message!  Join us!

Your Help is Needed

A demonstration this size requires cooperation and planning throughout the Northwest. We are contacting as many active environmental groups as we can to see if they can join us. The two primary groups planning the demonstration are the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s climate crisis group and the Backbone Campaign, but we will need numerous co-sponsoring groups to help at all stages of planning.  To be a co-sponsor, a group must agree to let us use its name in our e-mails and flyers. No other commitment is necessary, but keep in mind that we will need many boats, volunteers, and donations to make this vision a reality.” – http://www.peoplesclimatefleet.org/

United Hood March in Seattle brings gangs and activists together to march for peace

Hundreds marched for peace in the wake of the terrorist attack in Charleston, South Carolina, where 9 black church goers were gunned down during a bible study by a white supremacist terrorist. In addition to the unarmed, black men and women killed by police, activists spoke on violence within their communities and the need to fill the streets with love and unity. Chants of “It’s family members, not family feuds. You stand with me, I’ll stand with you.” could be heard echoing through the streets.

Musicians, activists, community leaders and clergy spoke about the need for peace in their communities, the fear of losing loved ones, the importance of women in the movement, and recognizing those still suffering in the LGBTQ community. Sheley Secrest from the NAACP spoke to the crowd and said “Understand this is more than a hashtag, understand this is more than a moment, this is a movement.”

The demonstration took the streets in front of the Seattle Police Department Headquarters where officers could be seen keeping an eye on the protest as it moved to Westlake Park where activists held Pike and 4th until marching to Myrtle Edwards Park. Seattle Police blocked streets and officers on bicycles escorted the crowd but no arrests were made.

From the event Facebook page…

“United Gang Member’s (active/un-active/affiliated) of Seattle have came together, and decided that they will peacefully march in solidarity with our brothers, and sisters, and other black organizations across the nation.

We are Tired of waking up to black men, women, children dead because of violence in our community, or police brutality.

Join us, and let’s let our voices be heard! United WE stand, divided WE fall!

***DETAILS***

We will be meeting at the Seattle Police Department Headquarters downtown. We will hold actions/demonstrate for higher police accountability. We will then hold actions/demonstrate in front of City Hall for more accountability from the Mayor, and the City.

Then we will march to Myrtle Edwards Park map to hold a memorial for our beloved love one’s who have lost a life due to violence, and also hold a community accountability action/demonstration, and a “releasing of balloons ceremony” in memory of our people.

***This event may change routes/times/locations, and etc. Please stay tuned for more, and spread widely. All people are encouraged to come support don’t be discouraged if you are not black, or gang affiliated.***

For more information email: UnitedHoodMarchSeattle@gmail.com”

United Hood March Seattle

Space Needle workers joined by Seattle city council members in fight for job security and union rights

Workers from the Space Needle, members of Unite Here Local 8, other union supporters, city council candidates, and four current city council members held a rally in front of the Space Needle today to fight for job security and union visitation rights. The rally included picketing, speeches from employees and city council members, and ended with a march to Space Needle corporate offices where a delegation was sent to speak with the CEO, Ron Sevart. The workers were denied an opportunity to speak with the CEO, and instead spoke with Dave Mandapat, the director of public relations. While workers couldn’t meet with Ron Sevart, City Council members Bruce Harrell and Mike O’Brien did have that opportunity.

 

“SEATTLE – Space Needle workers and political, labor and community supporters rallied Friday to reject the Space Needle’s recent offer of raises with unacceptable strings attached.

 

The event began with a picket at the base of Space Needle. Workers carried picket signs reading “This is My Space Needle” and chanted “What do we want? Job Security! When do we want it? Now!”

 

Space Needle workers recently ended a month-long effort at mediation with their employer and are continuing their fight for raises, protection from losing their jobs through subcontracting, and union rights.

 

The picket was followed by words of support from City Councilmembers Bruce Harrell and Kshama Sawant. Also in attendance were Councilmembers Jean Godden and Mike O’Brien.

 

“You have a strong council who understands,” said Councilmember Harrell. “We will prevail because we are on the right side.”

 

“The majority of city councilmembers and candidates support Space Needle workers,” said Councilmember Sawant.

 

Bargaining committee member and Space Needle Barista Holly Hodson told the crowd, “I’ve been a hard-working and loyal employee for a decade. I want there to be a little bit more standing between me and unemployment than a politely worded request. We need a guarantee of real job security. As Space Needle workers right now, we all have to ask ourselves–what would we do if we lost our jobs?”

 

The company’s latest proposal offered raises that were conditional on workers sacrificing job security protections and accepting unprecedented restrictions on their access to union representation.

 

Lee Plaster, a banquet server who has worked at the Space Needle for 25 years, told those assembled, “I can’t get by with just this one job. This whole week, I’ve been spending time at my second job at a hotel downtown. My income from the Space Needle has dropped drastically in the last four years.”

 

In a written statement of support, Councilmember John Okamoto wrote, “I am disheartened to hear that Space Needle workers have not received a raise in over 1,000 days, and I believe that a raise should not have to come at the expense of job security.”

 

Following the rally, the crowd marched to Space Needle corporate headquarters on 6th Avenue. There, Space Needle workers went inside the corporate offices to deliver the message that the Space Needle’s poison candy offer was unacceptable.

 

In a separate statement, Local 8 has notified Space Needle ownership that workers will return to mediation when the company is ready to discuss real subcontracting solutions and to cease its efforts to deny workers access to their union.

 

“I’m a part of this fight, and I’m going to stay in this fight one day longer than the Space Needle, because I know firsthand how great this company could be to work for. I’ve seen that and been part of that in the past. I’m fighting so that we can all get the raises and job security we deserve, so that this company can return to the great place it used to be,” said Plaster.”

CONTACT: Abby Lawlor | (206) 963-6458 | abby@8.unitehere.org| @uniteherelocal8

Seattle Activists hold vigil in solidarity and mourning with Charleston SC

Organizers from groups such as Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ), Coalition of Anti Racist Whites (CARW), and Jewish Voices for Peace, worked in solidarity with leaders in the black community to organize vigils in Seattle. While leaders in the Black community held a vigil at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood of Seattle, over 70, mostly white, activists organized a candlelight vigil at Westlake Park. According to a leaflet passed around at the event, “As white people, we are committed to speaking up and taking action against this and other deadly attacks on black lives from the murder of Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Rekia Boyd in Chicago, and so many more.”

From a statement put out by the organizers…

“Vigil Participants Call On White Communities to Show Up for Racial Justice

On June 18, community members gathered to mourn  and extend solidarity to the people of Charleston, South Carolina.  This vigil was organized in response to the murder of nine Black community members in a Charleston church, killed by a young white man.

A group of over seventy people, primarily white people, gathered at Westlake for a vigil in solidarity and mourning with Charleston.  This vigil was organized by members of Showing Up of Racial Justice (SURJ), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and the Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites (CARW), as well as concerned community members.   It was open to all and aimed primarily at white folks calling on their own communities to mourn and be in solidarity and coordination with the movement for racial justice across the country and locally.

Folks gathered with signs that said, “Black Lives Matter,” “white silence = white compliance,” “White people: what will we do to change our legacy of violence?”  They lit candles, held ten minutes of silence for the lives lost in the Charleston Shooting, as well as Black lives targeted by racist violence, and sang.  At the closing, Jewish Voices for Peace lead two prayers, the mourners kiddish, the prayer for mourning and the mi sheberach, the prayer for healing.

This action was organized in conjunction with numerous Black-led vigils happening in Seattle — as white people committed to showing up for racial justice, we were called to encouraged to organize this vigil to reach our broader white community. There was a black led vigil earlier Thursday night a 6:30pm at First Methodist Episcopal Church.  There will be a vigil Friday evening, June 19th, organized by Black Lives Matter and the NAACP at Pratt Park (20th & Yesler).

Participants reflect on the experience…

“I’m here tonight first and foremost to grieve the loss of lives through this most recent act of terrorism against black bodies, and to show up with other white people who are committed to both owning and ending our legacy of racism, since it isn’t a thing of the past.  The massacre in Charleston is part of a continuum of everyday violence that black people face in this country, and the time is now for us to act.” – Kelsen Caldwell with the Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites

“The Charleston massacre is yet another expression of the legacy of white violence and genocide in this country – a legacy that all white people are responsible for interrupting. This is a white problem and it is time for white people to say, “Not in Our Name!” Dylann Roof was not a lone, psychopathic killer. He was acting out of the racist beliefs and practices that run business as usual in this country – beliefs that tell white people we are safer when Black people are locked up and killed. These lies cost Black people their lives and dignity on a daily basis, and white people lose our integrity and our humanity when we sit silently by while our Black community members are being dehumanized and murdered in our names. I lovingly call all white people to speak up and act on the right side of history – with all black, brown, and white people demanding dignity and justice for Black people and a world in which Black Lives truly Matter. ” – Briana Herman-Brand, community member

“The tragedy of the shooting at the Charleston AME is a manifestation of the racism that is so deep and widespread throughout our society. Jewish Voice for Peace is committed to ending white supremacy. White supremacy kills.”
– Eva Dale, Jewish Voice for Peace – Seattle

“For me it was after waking up and hearing the news about the shooting that happened in Charleston it was really important to come and grieve with people. To show up and take responsibility and to understand that white people have a real problem on our hands.  It’s our responsibility to imagine and co-create a society that is not based in white supremacy.  It really feels like we are failing, letting white supremacy rear its ugly head all over the place, “

-Ross Kirshenbaum, community member”